For years, friends earnestly urged me to listen to public radio and for years, I ignored their suggestions. I suspected that the programs on something called “public radio” would be either educational (translation: dull and dry) or political (translation: dull and irritating).
Then, one night, someone turned the radio dial and I heard a deep voice intone, “Welcome to Lake Woebegone, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” I was enthralled by the quirky variety show that followed and the exotic Midwestern culture it portrayed. Fascinated by the program, A Prairie Home Companion, and its tales of Norwegian bachelors, lutefisk suppers, deer hunting and ice-fishing, I’ve kept the radio tuned to that station ever since.
Tonight, the man behind that voice and show, Garrison Keillor, appeared at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Union Square. He described his experiences making the new feature film based on his radio broadcasts, fielded questions, offered advice and autographed books and CDs for the wistful New Yorkers who hope to spend their summer vacations on the shores of beautiful Lake Woebegone.